Rescue operations were underway, with the Indian navy, air force and coast guard searching for dozens of fishermen unaccounted for in the Thiruvananthapuram-Kollam coastal area, said the New Delhi Television news channel. They have been lodged in relief camps.
Kerala and Tamil Nadu are facing the wrath of cyclone Ockhi for the second day in a row, as heavy rain lashes on the southern and central districts of the states. Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan said 400 fishermen stranded in the sea were rescued so far by the defence teams while the search and rescue for the rest of the missing fishermen continues in earnest.
Leader of the opposition in the Kerala Assembly Ramesh Chennithala today urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to declare cyclone Ockhi, which wrecked havoc in the state, Kanniyakumari in Tamil Nadu and Lakshadweep in the last two days, as a national disaster. Vijayan announced a compensation of Rs 10 lakh each to the next of kin of victims who died in rainrelated incidents in the state.
The India Meteorological Department (IMD) has said that the cyclonic storm is steadily progressing towards South Kerala and adjoining districts of south Tamil Nadu and Lakshadweep Islands. In Kanyakumari and Thoothukudi districts, strong winds uprooted more than 500 trees, snapped power lines and damaged settlements close to the sea. This is likely to intensify into a depression over southeast Bay of Bengal by Monday.